Syria: 89% Approved New Constitution
West not convinced, though much of opposition may have boycotted
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2012 11:46 AM CST
Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, greets his supporters after he casts his ballot at a polling station during a referendum on the new constitution, in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday Feb. 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/SANA)

(Newser) – Syria's new constitution was backed by more than 89% of voters, the nation's Interior Ministry announced today, even as violence continues to rage across the country and the West decries the referendum as a sham. The Interior Ministry claims that more than 57% of Syria's 14 million eligible voters turned out, with about 9% voting no and 1.6% of the ballots being rejected as spoiled. The New York Times notes that the Syrian government controlled the voting, but may not have needed to manipulate the results, considering that much of the opposition boycotted the referendum.

Across the nation, 33 people were killed today, many of them in continued government shelling in Homs, and 55 people died yesterday. The European Union has imposed new sanctions in the face of the continuing violence, CNN reports. Seven ministers of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as well as the Syrian Central Bank, will have their EU assets frozen. The ministers will also be denied entry into the EU and Syrian cargo flights will not be allowed to use EU airports. Says the EU foreign policy chief in a statement, "As long as the repression continues, the EU will keep imposing sanctions."